NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The entire 2020 Minor League Baseball season is being canceled. MiLB made the announcement Tuesday evening on social media.
The announcement ends months of speculation and means for the first time in 21 years, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers will not take the field in Niles.
“While we are incredibly disappointed that we are unable to play the 2020 season, we can now focus on planning an exciting season of Scrappers baseball at Eastwood Field in 2021,” said Jordan Taylor, vice president of HWS Baseball and Scrappers general manager.
Taylor said he is optimistic baseball will return to Eastwood Field next season and that the team is also awaiting a contract extension with the Cleveland Indians to remain an affiliate. The current agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2020.
Most of the staff at Eastwood Field have already been furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are a handful of full-time employees that remain working on a daily basis. The stadium itself remains open for other events, including amateur games this summer and beyond.
Earlier this year, Major League Baseball expressed a desire to reduce their minor league affiliations from 162 teams to about 120. The initial report of teams being eliminated included Mahoning Valley back in April, although no official word has been issued by MiLB.
The Scrappers have served as a Short-Season Class A affiliate for the Cleveland Indians since 1999.